“This is an opportunity for aspiring chefs to reach for the stars and follow their dreams,” says Jegie Padmanathan, Peermont Chief Operating Officer for Hotels and Resorts. “There is a shortage of chefs in South Africa, and around the world in general. These kind of initiatives will give opportunities to those dedicated chefs, who complete the course, to have meaningful careers that will be both fulfilling and rewarding,” concluded Padmanathan.
Facilitated by the I Can Help Africa Foundation (ICHAF), an accredited training service provider recognised by the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA), the pilot programme will run for a period of one year where chefs will undergo theory training. Upon completion of the training programme, each chef will be awarded an Assessment in Further Education and Training Certificate: Generic Management NQF4. During the programme the chefs will also attend Chef Forum meetings chaired by Stephen Billingham, President of the South African Chefs Association (SACA). The forums are aimed at addressing the trends in South Africa and internationally.
"The rules of the kitchen and professional cookery have an unusual work ethos and are different from other industries,” says Stephen Billingham, President of SACA. “In the best hotels and the best kitchens, the work ethos is the most honourable to strive for and the most difficult to maintain. I believe that the STRAT Chef programme is the perfect forum for professional chefs to network, educate, and share information,” concluded Billingham.
The objectives of the training programme is to assess each chef’s competency levels using rational and unbiased methodology. It will aim to bring to the surface key concepts and ideas related topics covered through knowledge based questions. A key goal is to connect the dots between each chef’s work scope with specific outcomes, as prescribed by the South African Qualifications Authority. The programme will also support chefs throughout the assessment process and provide guidance when needed. And lastly, to abide by the Education Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) standards at all times during the assessment process.
“I spent the last year studying and what became clear to me is that innovation happens in small increments and not “big bang” moments. Before your employees can be innovative they need to understand engagement,” says Wayne Hill, General Manager for Hotels and Resort Operations at Emperors Palace. “The missing link between engagement and innovation is empowerment. We aim to empower our chefs to understand finance costing and strategy through management techniques and we hope to stimulate their creative juices by creating collaborative hubs with leaders in the art of cooking,” concluded Hill.
Milton Romi-Babany, the resort’s Executive Chef comments, “The whole point of preparing dishes is to evolve it into the complete dish it is intended to be. It’s about love, sharing, honesty, passion and having its own identity. It’s not about complicated masterpieces, but about preparing good food using fresh ingredients.”
Emperors Palace is a Peermont resort. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @emperorspalace.